Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Let's Use 'Spaceman Spaces'!

OK, let me start by sharing a painful memory from my childhood.  I'm a leftie (don't worry, I have very neat handwriting!) and spent my early years at school being taught to use 'finger spaces' when writing sentences.  Doesn't sound so bad?  Do me a favour - wherever you are right now, pretend to write with your left hand, use your right as a finger space and then attempt to do the yoga move you need to be proficient with to get your pencil over your finger, ready to write the next word.  Tricky, right?  Fast forward 20ish years and here I am giving my kidlets the same spiel 'use a finger space between each word'.  Apart from the leftie trouble, let's face it - that's a super boring way to encourage children to evenly space words in their writing.

That's why in my classroom, we use 'Spaceman Spaces'!

To get started with 'Spaceman Spaces' I do a whole class lesson that highlights the importance of appropriate space between words.  We test out 'Baby Steps', 'Giant Steps' and 'Spaceman Steps'.  Wouldn't you know it - 'Spaceman Steps' are just the perfect size!  Once that's established I introduce the 'Spaceman Spacer'.  Be prepared guys, this is a high-tech tool...

Look at those chubby fingers!

Yep, that's a picture of an astronaut glued to a craft stick!  Having the spacer right there as they are writing is a great visual reminder - and there's no twisty arm movements for right or left-handers so their handwriting isn't affected at all.  Each kidlet has their own, and I have some in the Writing Corner and at my small group teaching table as well.

To further encourage kidlets to consistently use 'Spaceman Spaces' I make a bulletin board, with an astronaut displayed for each child after they have independently used 'Spaceman Spaces' 5 times in a row.  They also receive an achievement certificate!  Towards the end of the year it becomes second nature for words to be spaced evenly, and spacers are no longer needed. :)

Please excuse the light and outlet right in the middle of my board. Honestly, who put them there?!

If you would like to use 'Spaceman Spaces' in your classroom, I've put together a pack with everything you'll need to get started (including an overview of the whole class lesson I mentioned earlier in this post):

I hope this is an idea that you'll be able to use in your classroom.  Let me know if it works for you! :)

1 comment:

  1. Love it, Lauren! What a fun way for students to practise putting spaces between words!

    Miss Galvin Learns


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